You’re not going to … England advance to the semi-finals
For 55 years England has failed to try to win a big title. At this European Championship, however, the team remained without conceding a goal in the fifth game. In the quarter-finals she finished Ukraine. And now it’s off to Wembley.
So Should the decades of setbacks, disappointments and humiliations soon come to an end? England are in the semi-finals of the European Football Championship for the first time since 1996. After beating Germany 2-0 in the round of 16, the “Three Lions” were also harmed in the quarter-finals. Even more: In Rome they finished completely overwhelmed like defenseless Ukrainians 4-0 (1-0) and also remained in the fifth tournament game without conceding a goal.
In the semifinals it is now against outsiders Denmark on Wednesday. And this in front of your own audience: the semi-finals and the final will be played in London’s Wembley Stadium. The euphoria on the island should now reach new heights. After all, the motherland of football has been waiting for a big title since the 1966 World Cup triumph, also won at Wembley. Two victories now separate it from redemption.
Ukraine never digested the early lead
Captain Harry Kane with a brace (4th / 50th minute), defender Harry Maguire (46th) and the recently substituted Jordan Henderson (63rd) scored the goals for the English, who also impressed offensively, especially in the second half. Before the break, the favorite had limited themselves to defending after an early lead. There was far too little from Andrei Shevchenko’s Ukraine for the next surprise at this European Championship and the very first semi-final at a major tournament.
Although the English had no home advantage for the first time in the tournament so far and had to forego fans residing in Great Britain in Rome due to the corona pandemic, there was more support for them from the stands in the Stadio Olimpico than for their opponents. This apparently provided additional buoyancy. In their first dangerous attack, the Three Lions lived up to their role as favorites. After a pass from Raheem Sterling, Kane was on the spot and provided the lead with his second tournament goal.
This cracked the Ukrainians’ defense prescribed by coach Shevchenko early on. That played into the cards for the previously strong defensive Englishmen. For the time being, they let the outsider take control. Jadon Sancho, who is still Dortmund and who is about to move to Manchester United, was not seen in this phase, nor was Mason Mount. Midfielder Mount missed the round of 16 against Germany because he had to go into isolation after contact with Scotsman Billy Gilmour, who tested positive for Corona.
Klopp’s captain scores for the national team for the first time
The reluctance of the English after the 1-0 win encouraged the Ukrainians to attack on their own. Goalkeeper Jordan Pickford was challenged for the first time with a shot by Roman Yaremchuk (17th). But the English defense rarely got really embarrassed. The fact that the Ukrainians in Sergej Kriwzow had to replace their central player in the five-man defensive chain injured (35th) did not help to improve the mood.
But the English were also stingy with goal area scenes for a long time. Only when the fast sterling was involved did it get dangerous. The strong dribble attacker from Manchester City also prepared his team’s second chance through Declan Rice (33rd), who failed to goalkeeper Georgi Buschtschan. Only shortly before the break did the entertainment value of the hitherto unspectacular game, which was confidently led by the German referee Felix Brych, increased. However, Sancho (40th) missed the possible 2-0 in his first really conspicuous scene
The Ukrainians were caught off guard again after the restart. Defender Maguire headed a free kick from Luke Shaw and made it 2-0. Just four minutes later, the English proved to be masters of efficiency again: Kane used another Shaw cross with a header to make it 3-0.
The strong performance of the English in the second half was rounded off by Henderson’s 4-0. The joy of the professional of Liverpool FC was particularly great. After all, it was his first goal in his long national team career.
England goalscorer Harry Maguire first analyzed objectively and then dreamed: “The first half was not that easy. With the early goal in the second half, we quickly got the game under control. Against Denmark there is now a big bang. What the atmosphere will be like at Wembley … ”